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Here are some recent COVID drug experts you should know more about

SAN ANTONIO – December 2021 was an important month for emergency use approvals of COVID-19 drugs that have been found to be successful in trials.

One of them is Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody mix used to prevent COVID-19 for people who cannot get the vaccine.

“We found it very useful for our immunocompromised patients, that is, cancer patients, people who have had a kidney transplant, or people who are being treated for a rheumatologic disease that suppresses their immune system,” said Dr. Barbara Taylor.

Taylor said the Evusheld injection should not be confused with a vaccine.

“It’s different from a vaccine because vaccines train your immune system how to fight disease. We can train our bodies to make antibodies and T cells to fight the infection. Monoclonal antibodies are really for people who don’t have a trainable immune system,” she explained.

The New York Times reported that much of the Evusheld inventory in the US sits unused in warehouses, hospitals and pharmacies due to confusion about the drugs and a lack of public knowledge.

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Taylor agrees there is a knowledge gap, but hasn’t noticed a lack of usage, at least within the UT Health San Antonio system.

“For example, Mays Cancer Center and our transplant groups have really tried to reach out to people and get them to Evusheld,” Taylor said.

She said specialists are aware and the challenge is to bring it to the attention of other doctors.

“Primary care providers need to know and understand these drugs, but it is so difficult. Primary care providers are under a lot of pressure,” Taylor said. “There’s clearly more we need to do to advertise that we have this available.”

You and other specialists make a conscious effort to spread the word, and not just about Evusheld.

Another recent drug expert said Paxlovid, a treatment for people with mild or moderate COVID but fears it will be severe, is not being exploited. This can be older people or people with concomitant diseases.

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Paxlovid is a drug that directly targets SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. Another more well-known drug that does the same thing is remdesivir, but it’s only given through an IV, typically for severe patients in hospitals.

Paxlovid is a prescribed pill for non-heavy patients.

“Like an elderly patient or a patient at serious risk of COVID-19 who is healthy, who has been diagnosed on a rapid home test but is very concerned about the progression of her COVID-19. I can say, ‘Let me call Paxlovid for you. It’s five days of treatment and it reduces your chances of being hospitalized,’ and that’s great,” Taylor said.

She believes there are two challenges for Paxlovid: first, people don’t know it’s available, and second, it’s hard to know which pharmacies carry it.

“The pharmacy I use for my patients at University Health Robert B. Greene Center has Paxlovid, so I know I can prescribe it,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the government created a website that vendors can find out which pharmacies have certain medications, and she hopes more people will use them.

Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2022/04/04/here-are-some-newer-covid-drugs-experts-think-you-should-know-more-about/ Here are some recent COVID drug experts you should know more about

Andrew Schnitker

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